Man’s Strange Disappearance 15 Years Ago Linked With Discovery (1933) | Surnames: Decaire (Dicaire), Goodleaf, Fontaine, Jargaille, Jocks, Lasnier, Mayo, Robertson
Warning: contents slightly graphic!
POLICE HARD ON TRAIL
Workman’s Gloves Worn by Victim, Pipe and Other Articles Turned Over For Investigation
The gruesome discovery of a skeleton in the Caughnawaga Cemetery on Saturday afternoon, made my three Indians digging a grave, may be linked with the strange disappearance 16 years ago of Mike Decaire, an Indian of Caughnawaga, who has never been found. Provincial detectives are at present checking up on those details as the missing man’s age and height correspond with the data given concerning the skeleton examined by Dr. Rosario Fontaine, provincial medico-legal expert.
Dr. Fontaine stated yesterday afternoon that he had examined the skeleton thoroughly and found that the legs had been sawed off at the thighs. This had been done with a saw and the work was very neat. He further stated that the bones were those of a man between 40 and 45 years of age, five feet nine inches in height, and had been buried about 15 or 20 years.
The discovery which shocked the Indian reservation was made by William Robertson, Mike Mayo and Frank Goodleaf, three Indians residing in Caughnawaga, who were digging a grave in preparation for a burial. They had dug down about two feet when they came upon a potato sack containing something. On opening it they discovered that the sack contained the skeleton of a human being. The legs were placed separately in the sack.
Legs sawed off
Examination of the skeleton revealed that the head was intact, and that the clothing had rotted away. The legs, polce stated, had been sawed off the body in order that it could be placed in the sack for burial.
Chief John Jocks, of the Caughnawaga police, was notified, and upon finding that the legs had been sawed off, communicated with Chief Louis Jargaille of the provincial detectives, who sent Sergeant-Detective Lasnier to Caughnawaga to investigate. The detective questioned several Caughnawaga Indians, but could get no information in connection with the strange discovery.
The skeleton, which had been removed to the premises of a Caughnawaga undertaker, was closely examined by the police, and it was stated that the victim was wearing workman’s gloves. These were in such a decayed condition that they came apart when picked up by the police for examination. The victim was also wearing rubbers, but these were badly decayed and it was impossible even to discover the name of the firm which manufactured them. At the bottom of the potato sack, which was also badly decayed, the police found a clay pipe of reddish color and a badly rotted rubber tobacco pouch. Between seven or eight dollars in bills of small denominations and silver dating between 1883 and 1905 were also found in the sack. Sergt. Detective Lasnier ordered the skeleton removed to the Montreal Morgue for thorough examination by the medico-legal experts.
Suspicion of Murder
Questioned regarding the discovery yesterday afternoon, Chief Jargaille would say nothing beyond the fact that his men are conducting a thorough investigation. It was learned that the opinion in the Indian village is that the victim had been murdered but the police stated that they could not form any theory as yet.
Dr. Fontaine said it was impossible to ascertain the exact cause of death, or whether the legs had been sawed off before or after death. He said that tere were no clues which might lead to the man’s identity except for the pipe, tobacco pouch, leather gloves, and the rubbers.
In te village, however, John Mayo, nephew of Mike Decaire, stated tat his uncle had disappeared in strange circumstances some 15 years ago and had not been heard of since. A description given by te nephew corresponds in age and height with the skeleton of the man found in the potato sack. Detectives are at present working along this line in order to establish the identification of the skeleton.
Chief Jocks’ Story
When Decaire disappeared some 15 years ago chief Jocks was then agent for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his services were enlisted in the search. He stated last night that there were numerous rumors after the disappearance. Decaire was reported to have been seen in Cote St. Paul, but when the police and Decaire’s mother arrived there he had disappeared. The information was given to the police by another Indian, who is at present working in a lumber camp somewhere in the province.
The discovery of the skeleton was made in the Roman Catholic Cemetery situated in the centre of the village, and in the rear of the church. It was buried two feet above the remains of a new-born baby which had been interred at the same spot, in 1906.
Chief Jocks added that police investigation of the grave revealed a black leather blt with a black buckle minus initials. This blt, he said, was badly decayed. A celluloid collar was also discovered.
Source: The Montreal Gazette, May 17th, 1933
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